Time Management for Administrators

By Samuel B. Hardy III

The school administrator’s day can be long, short, unexpectedly tedious, exciting, nerve racking, or tiresome -- sometimes all at once. Because of the nature of schools, a principal can enter the building with a set schedule that completely changes before the first cup of coffee is poured.

Have you had one of those days?

We all have. But as any good administrator or manager knows, how you manage the day’s demands and constraints ultimately will determine your success in the workplace. Obviously, the principal of a small elementary school with no assistant principal will view his opportunities differently than one with an assistant. School values and norms that become anchored over time also will direct your interactions with others.

According to the National Association of Elementary School Principals, school-level administrators spend the majority of their time on brief brushes with others -- supervising or having contact with staff, interacting with students, or handling discipline/student management concerns. These demands provide little time for the big picture issues -- curriculum and instruction, evaluation, and schoolwide planning and reform -- that also require a principal’s time and attention.

How can you juggle all of these demands successfully? The answer, in a word, is simple. It’s called planning.

Tips you can use

I’m sure you’ve heard: “No one plans to fail but many fail because of poor planning.” I wish I said it first. Think of planning as if you were investing money. The time you spend on planning will result in more time to accomplish your tasks, much like making good financial investments now will result in more income for you later.

Plenty of literature is out there on time management. Drawing from that literature and my own observations and work history, here are some things you can do to successfully manage your work.

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